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    Biking in Memphis: City rises out of bad cycle

    Thomas Bailey Jr.


    March 05, 2014- One of Memphis' bike lanes along Overton Park Ave, Wednesday. Memphis currently has 133.5 miles of bike lanes and is projected to have 273.3 by 2016. (Brad Vest/The Commercial Appeal)

    The miles of bike infrastructure in Memphis have climbed from 62.4 in 2010 to 133.5 miles, and is projected to soar to 273.3 by 2016, according to the just released State of Bicycling 2014 report.
    “In 2012, Bicycling magazine named Memphis the ‘Most Improved City for Cycling’ after naming it to the ‘worst’ list in both 2008 and 2010,” Kyle Wagenschutz, the city’s bicycle/pedestrian coordinator, states in his report.
    Over the past four years, the city has built 71.1 miles of dedicated space for people riding bikes. Most of those miles came from re-striping streets just after they were repaved.
    “With an understanding of projects planned for the next three years, Memphis is expected to once again double the miles of bicycle-specific infrastructure within its limits by 2016,” the report states.
    As of 2013, the city had 12.6 miles of shared-use path (for pedestrians and cyclists), six-tenths of a mile of cycle tracks (physically protected lanes), 52.6 miles of bike lanes (striped lanes dedicated to cyclists) and 67.8 miles of shared lanes (for bikes and motor vehicles).
    By 2016, those numbers are projected to be: 35.9 miles of shared-use paths; 22.5 miles of cycle tracks; 98.7 miles of bike lanes and 118 miles of shared lanes, the report states.
    Federal transportation grants already have been approved for much of the bike infrastructure work over the next three years. The grants will pay for 80 percent of the cost and require a 20 percent local match.
    Among upcoming projects approved for federal grants are: Wolf River Greenway, from Mud Island to Second (shared-use path); Jefferson from Danny Thomas to Cleveland (cycle track); Harahan Bridge, from West Memphis to Virginia Avenue (shared-use path); South Memphis Greenline, from Latham to Trigg (shared-use path); Levi Road, from Marsonne to Leech (cycle track); Yale Road, from Raleigh Millington to Old Brownsville (shared lane); Chimney Rock Road, from Germantown to Dexter (bike lane); Broad, from its dead-end to Collins (cycle track); Kirby Road, from Massey to Neshoba (bike lane); and Holmes Road, from Malone to Lamar (bike lane).
    Census data on how people travel to work indicates that the number of people riding bikes in Memphis has increased with the amount of bike infrastructure, the report states.
    The number of people commuting by bike has doubled over the past four years, and by 2016 about three times more people are projected to bike to work than in 2008, the report states.
    Scripps Lighthouse
      © 2014 Scripps Newspaper Group — Online
    Originally published 08:43 a.m., March 5, 2014 
    Updated 03:19 p.m., March 5, 2014